Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My goodness I have been neglecting my blahg!  I hope I still have my handful of readers (hey Mar!). 

It has been a wicked few weeks and the stress finally got to me and I broke down on Sunday.  The tipping point was on Saturday night I noticed something in Cars' hair.  Turned out to be NITS so I ran to the drugstore before they closed and treated him and it was so gross pulling out dead LICE!  I also took him in to a professional nit picker first thing on Monday morning.  I had them check Jax, Dex and me for lice and nits too (we were clean).  We go back again in a couple of days to make sure Cars did not get re-infested.  I washed all Saturday night and all day Sunday and Monday after we got home.  Everything was washed on HOT and things that could not be washed went into the dryer on HIGH heat for 30 minutes.  Cannot wait to see our next utility bill.

I also had purchased a new vacuum on Friday so I used it heavily on Saturday night and Sunday but I noticed that the power brush head did not always go on then on Sunday night it would not go on at ALL.  I swore up a storm and Stephen talked me down and he took the vacuum back to be exchanged on Monday.  Then I was freaking out that they might not take it back and if they did maybe they would not honour the 20% off discount that I had received on it.  (I got 20% off at Bed Bath and Beyond because it seemed that one coupon mistakenly had omitted Dyson in the exclusions because every other BBB coupon I had said Dyson was not eligible for the discount). Anyway, I fretted all day long until Stephen came waltzing in with the new one. 

On Saturday, Cars had a hockey party after his 8am game.  There was a "secret Santa" and they passed out all of the gifts but there was no gift for Cars!  Turns out one family did not bring a gift (but were happy to take one  - asshats!).  Cars was looking around wondering where his gift was and fighting back tears.  The team manager, who is a wonderful person, ran to the snack bar and grabbed a bunch of safe snacks for Cars and wrapped them up in a table cloth with some balloons.  She totally saved the day.

After the party, we bought a Christmas tree and went home to put it up. Stephen and I had a fight about the lights on the tree and after we each had a hissy fit, we were able to get the lights on.  The kids and I decorated the tree Sunday morning, with Jax standing as far away from Cars as possible so he would not catch lice.  *sigh*

And of course Christmas is coming and I am getting fat.  I am stressed because once again I am not organized and have so much left to do.  Why oh why can I not start shopping/baking/decorating early?

Holiday stress at its finest.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Now that I have long hair for the first time in years, I have been trying to figure out different ways to wear it other than just long and straight (normal is long and frizzy).  I was looking at some youtube videos and I did try to make sock bun curls (  Sock Bun Tutorial ) but my hair was too thick and coarse to properly roll up into a sock bun.  Then I saw this video (Vintage curls ) so I thought I would give it a try a couple of nights ago. 

As instructed, I dampened my hair and used a stretchy elastic headband as instructed.  I slept on it and in the morning I pulled my hair out and what a disaster!  My hair looked like I was a mid-70's disco queen!  Huge puffy curly hair!  The method worked but it did not look attractive (at least on me).  I quickly tried to brush it out but that did not work.  I plugged in the flat iron but that made my hair look puffy and frizzy so I had to wash my hair to get the curl out.

I had a bright red straight line across my forehead from the hairband and I figured it would eventually disappear (like pillow-lines).  But two hours after I took the hairband out, I still had a bright red mark across my forehead.  I had to use concealer on it but it was still noticeable. 

Throughout the day I kept glancing in the mirror and the mark was still there and just as red!  It wasn't until late afternoon that I realized that it wasn't a pillow-line like mark but it was now raised and bumpy.  Doh!  It was a reaction to the latex in the hairband! 

I had mentioned before that I have developed a latex sensitivity.  I cannot wear latex gloves or be in a small room around latex balloons.  And apparently I cannot wear a hairband with latex for elasticity on my skin for 7 hours!  This morning is has faded some but it still there and has developed some bumps in it like an allergic reaction (which of course is what it is).  I will put some Benadryl cream on it to see if that helps. 

Anyway, so a hair disaster has turned into a skin disaster.  Maybe I should just keep my hair long and lose and straight.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The other day I bought a pound of almonds in the shell. They reminded me of Christmas when my mom used to buy a big bag of mixed nuts in the shell and over the holidays we'd eat them. It was so fun cracking the nuts and extracting a whole nut from the shell.  The exception of course were the Brazil nuts which stubbornly held onto the nut and we'd always have to pick it out of the cracked shell.

Anyway, almonds is one nut that is "safe" for us so I brought the bag home, hoping to share the nut cracking tradition with my kids.  One problem...no nut cracker.  So today I bought a nut cracker and I could not wait to finally crack those almond shells and eat the raw nut.  However, cracking nuts has been harder than I remember!  First I could not get the cracker to get a good grip on the nut.  Then when I finally cracked it, the cracker went right through and broke the almond meat inside into a million little pieces!  Noooo!  I tried again and the same thing happened.  I have not cracked 20 of them and have yet to get a whole almond out of the shell.  Just itty bitty little pieces that I have to pick out of the cracked shells.  Not fun!

Clearly my fond memories of how fun cracking nuts can be are false memories!  I just showed Cars and Dex how to do it and they were like "meh"  and asked me why I didn't just buy a can of already shelled almonds.  Goodness knows it would have been cheaper.  The almonds were $3.99 and the nut cracker was $4.99 and a can of dry roasted almonds is $3.69 (or less if on sale!).  *sigh*

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cars had his last "expander" appointment at the orthodontist today.  He will keep the expander in as a "retainer" and we'll go back in three months to see if his lateral incisors have grown in by then.  The baby ones were knocked out in May 2010 and the orthodontist says there is a chance the adult teeth are impacted.  Hopefully not because I don't want him to have to have oral surgery!

After the ortho appointment, I took all three kids for their flu shots.  Dex said he would go first then got all teary-eyed because he was scared.  I think in the end he was rather shocked that the shot did not hurt much.  Jax said it did not hurt at all but later complained that his arm was tired.  Cars freaked a bit too and cried.

But I took them to the frozen yogurt place (which is awesomely allergy-friendly!!).  All is good.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quiet weekend. Lots of rest for everyone. I think the early hockey Saturdays are wearing us out.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Book List 2011

To date I have read 23 books this year which is much better than last year (I think I only read 18).  Many of the books I read this year were long too (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series).  I also downloaded some books onto my iPad this year for the first time (using eBooks and the Kindle app for iPad).  While I do enjoy the electronic format, nothing beats the smell of the paper when you have your nose in a book.

Here is my list for 2011:

  1. The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein, 336 p *also read previously
  2. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak, 576 p
  3. Rough Country, John Sandford. 400 p
  4. Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss, 672 p *also read previously
  5. Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss, 1008 p
  6. Little Bee:  A Novel, Chris Cleave, 304 p
  7. The People Code, Taylor Hartman, 336 p
  8. Middlesex, Jeffery Eugenides, 554 p
  9. Miss Bossypants, Tina Fey, 288 p
  10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
  11. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley, 416 p
  12. Replay, Ken Grimwood, 320 p
  13. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson, 600 p
  14. The Girl who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson, 630 p
  15. The Girl who Kicked the Hornets Nest, Stieg Larsson, 563pp
  16. Marley and Me, Grogan, 320pp
  17. The Lion’s Game, Nelson DeMille, 448pp
  18. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. 192pp
  19. Plum Island, Nelson DeMille, 704pp
  20.  Room, Emma Donoghue, 321 pp
  21. Shanghai Girls:  A Novel, Lisa See, 336pp
  22. Bad Blood, John Sanford, 432 pp
  23.  Still Alice, Lisa Genova, 320 pp
My 24th book is "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by Joanna Weaver.  I am reading this book with my Ministry of Mothers Sharing group but I am not sure we'll be done by the end of the year.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When I was sick last week, I completely blanked on all of my to-dos for the day.  I did call the school and tell them I could not do either of my volunteer stints.  And I did let my book club know that I would not make that night (although it was a shame because I really was looking forward to the discussion (Still Alice by Lisa Genova).  But I totally blanked on Jax's guitar lesson (only our 3rd week of it so easy enough to do, I guess) and also on the flu shot appointments I had made for Jax, Dex and Cars.  And those I just realized yesterday!  Thankfully I was able to get new appointments for them for next week (and am assuming I will not be charged for missed appointments since it is only with a nurse and not a doctor?!).

Anyway, I have written the new flu shot appointments in very large letters on my calendar, have put it in my cell phone appointment calendar with a 15 minute reminder.  In fact, I think I will put the reminder on every appointment I schedule into my phone calendar from now on.  Getting old and forgetful stinks!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ok, I watched what I ate today ( even though it wasn't all exactly as planned - I really did not need that rice crispie square).

Shamefaced I will admit that I did not exercise. No excuses. Just laziness. Better luck tomorrow.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Well, I somehow managed to lose a very lengthy post where I admonished myself for carb-loading and not exercising.  Suffice to say I shan't recreate it but when I return tomorrow to post I shall have exercised and recorded what I have eaten.  Baby steps back to good health...

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Darn, missed blahgging yesterday!  What a day it was.  The kids had the day off school so we decided to have Cars' birthday party that day (3 months after the fact).

I made just about the worst cake every (well, last year's was worse because the icing melted in the heat and the top layer of the cake slid off the bottom layer as we drove to the venue).  Cars loved the cake but I was a bit embarrassed about it and glad that no other adults saw the cake. 

We had a video game truck come for the party so all of the kids went inside and played video games.  I did say that they could let the kids play Halo (since there is no blood or gore like in Call of Duty and others) but the rest of the games were rated T or E.

It had been a rainy day but during the party we had a torrential downpour which changed to hail and sleet! When the parents came to pick up the kids everyone got soaked, even with umbrellas. And the temperature dropped so quickly that even this morning there is still frozen hail on the lawn and deck.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Woe is Me

I have contracted some sort of stomach bug and spent the day not far from the bathroom.  Totally blew away my plans for the day.  And I could not even go to Book Club!  Also, tomorrow is Cars' birthday party and I do not have all of the things I need for it so I will get up at the crack of dawn to run errands before Stephen leaves for work.  Hopefully my stomach will cooperate. Else I just might need to make the drugstore my first stop.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Time Change

We "fell back" last weekend and am still struggling with the dark evenings and feeling like I am going to fall asleep in my chair at 9:30pm (until my second wind kicks in).

I really hate driving the boys to hockey in the dark. I don't like when we are sitting down to dinner in the dark.

I do like that it is lighter in the morning ( at least for now). I am never comfortable with Jax standing in the dark waiting for the bus. Soon though, it will be plenty dark in the morning and he will be schlepping a flashlight with him.

And I am sitting here yawning as my second wind has died off. And it is gold in the house (did I reset the time in the thermostat??). Time for bed.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

This is Jax being inducted into the National Junior Honor Society (wearing his new clothes). 

I am so proud of him.  Of course the ceremony took a while because there were like 200 other kids (the school has 1100+ students).  Hardly an exclusive club but I am very proud of how hard he works at school.  He is a great kid and I love him so.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Jax has been invited to join the National Junior Honor Society.  I don't know anything about it other than he has to be a good student and do some volunteer work throughout the year.  I have been asking him for weeks to find out more about it, including the induction ceremony which is tomorrow night.  He keeps saying that there is nothing going on.

Then today I asked him AGAIN and he said that they said something on the announcements today about it but "I missed it", meaning he did not listen to the announcements.  I looked on the school's website and see that the ceremony is "formal" which means he has to dress up!  Eek!  He has NO dress clothes or dress shoes.  And tonight I had to take Cars to hockey then Dex to guitar while Stephen took Jax to hockey.  Now they have to stop at Fred Meyer after hockey practice (the store is thankfully is open until 11pm) to find Jax some clothes to wear tomorrow evening.

Anyway, I hope they easily find clothes tonight!

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Stephen and I are trying to decide what we are going to do for Thanksgiving this year. Our tradition was to go to our friends' home for dinner. But last year we went to Minnesota. Then this summer our friends moved to Minnesota. What shall we do?

I guess we could make a big turkey dinner. It has been a long time since we've attempted one. I think the last time was before Carson was born! And it was horrible. We brined the turkey using a recipe from from our newspaper's weekend magazine. The turkey, gravy and stuffing were all inedible because of the amount of salt. Here's the letter to the editor: Salty Turkey

Anyway, it is probably a good thing that we don't cook turkey. :)

Saturday, November 05, 2011


I packed up the Halloween decorations and now just need Stephen to put them away in the garage attic. I do not have any thanksgiving or fall decorations to put up other than the pumpkin I grew in my garden and did not carve up.

So I spent a great deal of time today looking on Pinterest for the ultimate gal wreath to make. The one I liked the best was made with wine corks. I need to drink A LOT more wine to have enough to make the wreath. Glug glug glug...

Friday, November 04, 2011

Today I went to the Nordstrom sale.  I met Ash there and I told her that whatever I said or did, she must NOT let me buy any shoes or boots.  None!  I have more shoes and boots than I need and while I am not yet to be called Imelda, for someone who is a stay at home mom, I do not need more.  Well, that is not entirely true because I need (or rather needed) new running shoes.  Yes!  I caved!!  I bought a pair of running shoes that were on sale.  I really did need them and I was sooo good and I did not look at boots or casual shoes or dressy shoes (although I really wanted to try to find a pair of nude pumps because I love how they look but I have no where to wear them) or fancy shoes or sneakers (not the same as runners).

Poor Ash did not even have a chance.  I waited until she was busy trying on a gorgeous pair of grey boots (which she too bought - they were fabulous and ON SALE!) then I snuck over to the athletic shoe department to browse then I tried on and purchased the running shoes.  They are utilitarian and grey and pink although I wish they were grey and blue. 

Anyway, I am proud of my restraint at the Nordstrom sale because I did look at a lot of things.  And I was a little bowled over by the $450 child's sweater by Burberry.  Wow!  I rarely spend one TENTH of that on clothing for myself (which I hopefully will not outgrow in a couple of months).  In fact, I was mulling over a $25 sweater and decided against it since I had already purchased the running shoes.  Frugal me is proud!

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Test Post

I keep getting errors trying to post to my Blahg on my iPad so I have downloaded the blogger app to see if it works. It is nearing midnight and I really don't want to get out of bed to update my Blahg at my pc to ensure I meet the NaBloPoMo deadline. Sorry for the lame post.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ack!  My post disappeared when I tried to publish it. Trying to re-write it and publish before the end od the day for NaBloPoMo.

We had a positively gorgeous autumn day. It was cold and crisp in the morning with patchy fog. Driving down the hill from the school into a patch of fog that was glowing as the sun was rising behind it took my breath away. The trees are the most vibrant colors they have been in years. Gold, orange and red trees abound!

Of course tonight the wind and rain moved in. Back to our regularly scheduled November rain.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

I Retain the Meanest Mom Title

So, yesterday was Halloween and Cars also had an orthodontist appointment at 3:00pm, which is the time he is normally dismissed from school.  I had to go pick him up early and I did not even THINK when I scheduled the appointment that it would be during his class' halloween party.  *doh* 

Who remembers that I did this to Dex three years ago - dragged him crying from his Halloween party to go to the neurologist?  And embarrassingly enough, it is the SAME TEACHER!  She must think I am so cruel to my children.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Why I hate Peanut Butter

Jax's 504 Plan accommodations came in handy today when he excused himself from homeroom while the rest of the class had a party and ate peanut butter cups. While I am pissed about the peanut butter cups and him being excluded, he has matured enough to not feel like he is missing out - he cared more about his well-being. Of course it meant that he sit in the office for an hour reading but better than choking to death from the aroma of peanut butter while 30 other kids ate them around him.

I hate peanut butter. Even if it were just shelled peanuts, there would be no smears of peanut butter around. :\

Ok, off to email the guidance counselor to suggest that his homeroom class might need to have the desks washed.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I received a Bounce Dryer bar to try (gotta love free samples!). I use Bounce sheets in the dryer so I thought the Bounce bar would be good to try. I had seen it advertised in the past but did not quite know how it "worked".

I put the Bounce bar in the dryer and for the first load I of course reached over and threw in a Bounce dryer sheet (old habits die hard). I had to fish it out and put it back in the box the started up the dryer. Easy-peasy! Except for the next two loads I automatically reached over and got the dryer sheet again and threw it in. I even wondered two of those times why the sheet was not neatly in the box. The next load I reached over but caught myself before I threw in the sheet. Then I smarted up and turned the Bounce box around so even if I do reach over I will touch cardboard rather than the sheets.

Anyway, the first few loads looked fine. No static. Fluffy towels. Seemed to be working. But on a load of darks, the Bounce bar left these white chalky-like marks on my son's jeans. I only noticed them because the jeans are brand new and a very dark blue. I looked in the dryer and the Bounce bar looks like this:
Oops, that is sideways.

Anyway, you can see that the Bounce bar has dark marks on it (like from jeans??). I will give it another few loads to make sure that it doesn't happen again and if it does I will pry it off my dryer (although it seems to be stuck on there really well - hope it doesn't leave an adhesive mark when it comes off!).

Anyone else have the same experience with a Bounce dryer bar?

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I mentioned last month that I am addicted to Pinterest. There are so many cool and exciting crafts, DIY things as well as neat ideas, beautiful homes, etc posted on there. I saw a really cool wreath craft posted on there so I had to make one for myself. And here it is:
I made it last month for Spy's birthday and had a bright pink ribbon on it and a sign that said OVER THE HILL. Then for Halloween, I just changed out the ribbon and added the orange spider. I am making a Halloween costume inspired by something I found on Pinterest as well. I will post a photo (if it turns out!). Love being crafty!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I took Stephen's car into the dealership today because he got a flat tire last night.  He *insisted* that only tires from the dealership were good enough for his baby.  And not only that, they had to be identical to what was already on the car.  Unfortunately, since the car is an AWD and the tires were 3+ years old, we had to buy 4 new tires!  And as I said, he wanted them to be the same kind that were already on the car so those tires cost $400 MORE than a cheaper brand. Ouch!  And to top it off, he said his brakes were squeaking so I had the dealership look at them and the back brakes needed to be replaced!  Another small fortune because no cheap brakes for this car because, as the service guy told me, "this *is* a sports car".

I am feeling very fortunate that Stephen has a job and we can afford these repairs!

Friday, October 07, 2011

This and that

This week, my elementary school-aged kids had 1/2 days on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and an early dismissal on Wednesday and no school today (Friday).  Nice.  The junior high just had today off.  I woke up with a migraine and wished so much that they were in school today.

Anyway, I took them to an indoor trampoline jump place.  It was $11 for an hour of jumping on trampolines, into foam pits and playing dodgeball.  I left with a carload of very sweaty, smelly boys. P.U.!  They love that place.  I did buy a groupon for it recently but it can only be used Monday through Thursday.  I hope I remember to use it before it expires.  Maybe we'll use it during the time off at Christmas?

Afterwards, we left the trampoline place, we stopped at a halloween store that had recently opened up (it is a chain that opens up in empty store fronts for 6 weeks or so before halloween).  The kids chased each other around the store with fake chain saws and Cars begged me to buy him a mace for his halloween costume (which will consist of a black t-shirt, black shorts, his hat on backwards, a scary mask and a mace <--huh?  What is that supposed to be?).  I said no.  Put a little more effort into than that...and you don't need a weapon.

Now I sit and watch the clock until bedtime for me (probably before the kids).  Hockey games start tomorrow so up at the crack of dawn on Saturdays for the next few months for Cars' games.  Jax's games are all over the place time-wise.  Should be a fun season.  Go Mite Green!  Go Bantam Grey! 

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

For some reason the formatting on my blahg is not right.  I am sorry, dear readers, for what looks like one giant paragraph.  I don't know how to fix it.  Well, two of my posts were created using the old publisher and this one is with a new so we'll see if it is any different.

I went away for a 4-day weekend with a friend of mine.  We drove to Anacortes, WA and took a car ferry to Sidney, BC, Canada then drove down to Victoria.  We walked around the downtown Victoria area, toured the BC Parliament building, stayed overnight then went to Buchart Gardens .  It was lovely!  Then we took another ferry across to mainland, British Columbia and drove up to Vancouver where we stayed over for two more nights.  We walked Robson Street, shopped, went out for dinner, walked some more and took a water taxi over to Granville Island where we met my brother and niece for a lovely lunch.  It was a very fun weekend.  I especially enjoyed the ferry rides.  It was exciting to think that these HUGE ships could carry all of these cars, trucks and people across the expanses of water.

The weather was surprisingly nice (well, overcast but no rain!) and I really, really enjoyed Buchart Gardens.  I know I could never, ever get my kids to walk through them or Stephen for that matter.

I did miss my family though and wish that we did more sightseeing trips.  Our trips to Vancouver usually consist of hotel, hotel pool, Costco, grocery store, Whitespot, the Hockey Shoppe and home.  Not that thrilling. I am going to think about where I'd like to go and make it happen!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I had decided that this was the year that I was going to scale back on the volunteering at school. I was there so much last year and I really started to resent the time I spent there. So cutting back I felt was the way to go. Besides, our school now has 700 kids at it (probably designed for 500) so there are lots of other parents who can volunteer, right?
This year, to save on paper costs, the PTSA did not send home volunteer forms but just instructions on how to go online and print off the required forms (stating what you are interested in helping out with as well as the official volunteer background check that goes to the school district). Well, guess what? They had hardly anyone return the forms. So all of the things that are staffed by PTSA volunteers have virtually NO volunteers (I don't think classroom volunteers really are because parents always want to be in their kids classes helping out, especially in the younger grades).
Our fundraising walk-a-thon is on Friday - initially not enough volunteers but because it is after school hours, junior high and high school kids can work it to get their volunteer hours in. The Scholastic Books Book Fair next week had just ONE volunteer for 3 hours (they need at least 3 people to staff it for the 22 hours it is slated to be open through the week). The Vision and Hearing screening needs 21 people to help out from 8am-2:20pm and they have just 13 so far. The Health Room has 10 two-hour shifts each week and they are having trouble getting people to fill the slots. See a pattern? And the people who ARE volunteering are the same people so we are looking at a future burn outof these volunteers.
Yesterday, an email went out with "A Cry for Help" as the title, in which they are trying to get more people to help out with the book fair and Vision/Hearing screening because those are the most pressing volunteer positions right now. And I just deleted the email.
I feel so guilty! But I just cannot take on any more volunteering. But, I had already signed up to do the Hearing/Vision screening, and I help out in the health room. And I volunteer once a week in the computer lab for Carson's class. And I will be teaching Art Start in Carson's class as well as Declan's class. And I have volunteered for Reading Naturally program for Carson's class. And in Declan's class for inventorying the science kits for the year. So much for my 'taking time off from volunteering' year. Oh, I just remembered that I have signed up to help out with the 6th grade promotion but none of that work will need to be started before February, I think.
And at the next PTSA meeting, I am going to ask about sending the forms home hard copy to see if they get more responses. And also the schools need to figure out how to get things done without volunteers, I think. It seems to be a sign of the times.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Well, I got my ads back and my sitemeter but I have lost my blahg format and all of the comments for the past 7 years. Heavy sigh. Comments can now be made in the blogger comment section (had always had that turned off).
I feel really blue today and I am not sure why. I had some disturbing dreams last night and that might be part of it. And the new facebook format sucks so I feel that I have lost the ability to keep in touch with some friends because I just do not want to go there. I have disliked a lot of the changes they've made over the years but this one takes the cake. It feels a lot like about.com changed their format and I lost touch with a lot of friends from the stay-at-home parents forum. Sure, a lot of them were on other forums on delphiforums but there was not one place where everyone was an active member.
Ok, the younger kids get out of school in 1.5 hours. Time to stop sulking and get on with the day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Darn! I tried to edit something on my blahg but blogger had changed the interface and now I have lost my original blahg template. No time right now to try to get it back, including customizations like my ads! Aargh!

Monday, September 19, 2011

School is back in session and while I thought I would have a lot of time to do stuff like working out, cleaning, running errands, etc but it seems that my time is being Words with Friends and Pinterest. At any given time I have about 10 WWF's games on the go (denines is my user name if you care to start a game!!).

And Pinterest - omg...hours have been frittered away as I drool over images of cool furniture, mouth-drooling food and crafts. Oh, the crafts! I have been liking and repinning tons of cool crafts and sewing projects. I have so many wonderful ideas for Christmas gifts, crafts, decorating thoughts for just about every holiday and am feeling ambitious enough to alter some clothing. Love it! I have plans to make this

and this

and this

All cool and things that I can do!

But in reality, until I actually do any of them, Pinterest is just this:

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Sad news this morning. I just found out that Nanny died suddenly this weekend. She had fallen and had torn a ligament in her knee last week so she was bedridden. Her daughter and her daughter's family came down for the long weekend to visit and help out but early Sunday morning Nanny died from a blood clot in her heart/lung area. It is very shocking and terribly sad. Nanny was just 10 years older than me.

I think back when I was at my craziest, I left my not quite 4 month old, my 3 year old and my 5 year old with a virtual stranger for half a day each week so I could get out of the house. The second time she was there I remember driving along the street thinking "I CANNOT STOP I CANNOT STOP" because I knew that I could stop driving my car if I hit a red light and thanking God that my kids were at home with that stranger.

Over the months (then years) I got to know Nanny quite well. She loved to talk and sometimes I would get mad at myself for spending 45 minutes of the time she was there just chatting with her when I should be out and about getting groceries or whatever. But I enjoyed chatting with her. She was interesting, was a good story teller. And most importantly of all, I knew that she both liked and loved my children. She shared a common interest of Harry Potter and Lego with the kids so they thought she was great. She would often bring over books that she knew would interest them, movies, toys and crafts. Once she brought four huge sheets of cardboard (the sheets that were used between the stacks of toilet paper at Co$tco) and crafted a play structure for the kids - a cardboard castle.

After it was time for her to move on to a new family (both her M-Th family and us, her Friday family were ready to move on) she struggled at for a while with finding a family that was the right fit. Then she started working with a family who were treated her very well and had the resources to do things for her like take her away on vacation with them. She was very happy working for that family. She was also less available for babysit for us in the evenings or on the weekends but I was happy for her.

The last time we saw each other was just before we went to San Diego. The kids and I ran into her at Co$tco one evening. She was originally from San Diego and suggested a few places for us to visit. After that, I did not see her again although we did exchange emails every few months.

And now she has suddenly passed away. I think it was a blessing that her family was visiting her when it happened. There will be a memorial service for her at her M-Th family's home next weekend. I will be glad to see her daughter and grandson again and tell them I am so sorry for their loss.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

School starts in 10 days! Time to finish cramming in as much Summer O'Fun as we can! This will include a camping trip. We are hauling a jet ski for some friends (we are all camping together) and get to enjoy the use of their jet ski. The weather will be HOT on the other side of the mountains. We are all looking forward to it!

Jax and Cars has hockey camp this past week (well, just 3 of the days). Yesterday, Jax also had a birthday party to attend so he was out of hockey camp a couple of hours early. I had so much running around to do that day that I put 105 miles on my car! Just running errands and shuttling kids! Wow.

Dex went to a sleepover on Tuesday night and managed to lose the stuff sack for the sleeping bag. Lost in this kid's house! And the thing is, this is the SECOND time he has lost a stuff sack in someones house. Last time was early in the summer. So now we have two puffy sleeping bags that would pack much more conveniently in the car if they were nice and compactly stuffed in a little bag. Aargh!

If we ever go camping again, we are buying or renting a trailer to haul all of our stuff. Or maybe I could leave half of the kitchen at home? ;)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Three weeks ago, my friend took her kids and my kids to the lake for some afternoon fun. On the way home, they were rear-ended! Both cars were drivable although my friend's car needed a new bumper, back gate, side panel and apparently the floor was cracked. She is still driving a rental car. Two of my three kids initially complained of some neck and back pain but I shrugged it off. Mostly because one is highly susceptible to the power of suggestion and the other tends to obsess over aches and pains. Well, three weeks later, the power of suggestion kid has made no mention of any aches but my other son begged me to take him to the doctor. He was sitting in the third row on the passenger side of a small SUV, right at the point of impact.

The doctor took copious notes (for insurance purposes??) and gave my son a page of exercises to do. We are to call back in a week if things are still the same. I hope that the reassurance from the doctor that all is well will be enough to make him realize that he is ok. And if in a week he is not, we'll be going to some physical therapy to help make his back stronger and (it is his upper and lower back that hurt) hope that these issues do not follow him throughout his life. In the meantime, I have tons of paperwork to fill out and need to call the main office of the pediatric clinic tomorrow to work out the billing for this visit.

I know this accident could have been a lot worse. And it is funny but I have never had any misgivings or second thoughts about letting a friend drive my kids before but now I do think twice before I say OK.

Oh, and the rest of the passengers? They were all ok with the exception of my friend, the driver. She has put off going to the doctor for neck and back pain too because she does not have insurance. Yes, the auto insurance will cover but I think the paper work involved is overwhelming to her too.

When I was growing up this was never a problem because we rarely drove in other's cars (no one had 7 or 8 passenger vehicles) and we'd just take public transit (the TTC) where ever we went. I wish we had that option here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer o'fun 2011 continues...

It has been three weeks since I last posted! Shameful!!

The summer finally kicked in (weather-wise and activities-wise). Cars did a two-week intensive swim lesson session at the club. He did ok but not well enough to move up to the next level. I *promise* not to go so long without him swimming again so he doesn't lose all of his swimming know-how again.

On the 8th, we went on vacation to Pacific City, Oregon. We had so much fun! We went with Spy and her family (they go there every year). We rented a house just up the street from where they rented a house so it was perfect for the kids to ride their bikes or scooters to each house. We were 4 blocks from the beach. We'd pack up the cooler then Stephen would drive it down to the beach (you can park on the beach there) and I'd walk down. The ocean was COLD so we rented wet suits for the kids so they could boogie board. There was a huge SAND mountain that we could climb up (a lot of hard work). We rented sand boards one afternoon too so the kids could sand board down the hill. We hiked and we biked. Stephen and Spy's dh took the kids crabbing too. It was really an awesome vacation with lots of downtime to relax. Stephen and I have both said that we'd love to go again sometime.

We were back for three days then we headed to Vancouver for the weekend. We used our Nexus passes for the first time and it was fantastic just driving past the long line of cars in the Nexus only lane. I waved my cards at the scanner then drove up to the border guard. She asked me how many in our party (5!) then she said "Thank you" and handed our cards back to us and away we went! Awesome!! We drove the the Vancouver airport next so we could get our irises scanned so we can use the Nexus passes when we fly to/from Toronto.

While in Vancouver, we went to see the Zombie Walk which was a lot of fun as there were so many zombies and some people's costumes were awesome! The best zombie was an older man who was missing his left arm but he had tied a fake bloody bone to his shoulder so it looked as though his arm had been bitten off. Gruesome but hilarious! My kids were a little freaked out by him and some of the other very realistic zombies but overall they loved it. Before we had quite made it to where the Zombie Walk was starting, my 4 year old niece saw a clearly drunk scruffy-looking man staggering down the street and screeched "Look! A zombie!!".

So the summer activities are clearly getting better for my kids. We still have hockey camp and camping to do (as well as finishing buying school supplies as well as clothes for back-to-school).

This is indeed a summer o'fun!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back in October when I went to help my mom pack before she moved, she gave me about 100 35mm slides of the family because she could not throw them out. She had already thrown out hundreds of others of my dad's political life, their vacations to Greece and many other things that were not "personal". I looked through the slides (by holding them up to the window) and they really are treasures.

My brother was visiting this weekend and so I asked him if he had access at his work (he works at a university with access to many media products) to a machine that could easily transfer slides to digital prints, otherwise I would buy a 35mm slide image scanner. Fortunately, he has access to professional products so I very warily and reluctantly gave him the slides to copy for me and my siblings and my mom. I hope he is able to get it done by Christmas because I think it would be great to give copies to my mom and sister and other brothers then. I hope it gets done!

Some of the photos are real gems! A Christmas when our family lived in Ottawa (we lived there for just 2 years after my dad lost an election and became an aide to a member of parliament so we rented out our house and moved). Photos of our family with the family up the street at our rented twin cottages. We just rented them for two or three summers in a row and I was very, very young but I still have such distinct and wonderful memories of those times.

The thing about slides is that they were never made to hard copy prints. My dad would occasionally set up the projector, take the painting off the dining room wall and we'd sit and look at the slides. It was fun and interesting as long as it were photos of us that we were viewing.

The worst slide shows were of the trips to Greece that my mom and dad made in the 80s. Literally HUNDREDS of photos of the Greek country side in Florina (the sister city to my hometown). Zzzzz We used to joke all of the time about my dad and his slides. When Stephen and I were first dating my dad pulled out the slides and Stephen sat very politely through them. I think my dad loved him just because he had a captive audience and Stephen made all of the correct nods and asked just enough questions to make him seem interested. Oh those slides!

I am not sure why my dad loved slides so much. He was an amateur photographer and he probably thought that slides were superior to negatives/film. So many of our family photos were on slides (and lost somewhere in moves). Or if he did use film, he'd have them developed onto contact paper rather than in regular sized photographs and the negatives long gone. (No doubt my mom threw them out at some point as she often called my dad a pack rat and when he wasn't looking she would throw out boxes and boxes of his papers that he had stored in the crawlspace. Just an aside but after my dad died my mom dumped so much crap only to find out later that my dad had been hiding gold coins that he had been collecting in them. Who knows how much gold is now in the Toronto garbage landfills?!).

Anyway, the slides are a real treasure and I hope it isn't too long before I have digital copies of them. I would also like to have the actual slides back but Stephen may accuse me of being a pack rat like my dad! Unfortunately, I have no gold to stash with them though. :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

All about Cars

Cars starts swimming lessons tomorrow. He is mad that I signed him up but really he cannot swim! I mean he can kind of swim but since we had NO summer last year and we spent the winter in the hockey arena instead of pool, he seems to have forgotten how to swim. When he last finished lessons, he "graduated" to youth 4 but when I signed him up for these lessons I put him back in youth 3. Anyway, it is a 2 week intensive course so hopefully he will pick it back up quickly.

He also learned to ride his bike finally. For shame on me that it is less than two weeks until his 8th birthday and he could not ride a bike. Well, to be fair, he had no incentive to do so. He is a stubborn little Leo and while he can balance and we did take the training wheels off his bike a year to two ago, he just doesn't ride. "It's too haaaard!" he'd complain. So, I had to figure out what his currency was to learn because we are going on vacation in a few weeks and we are taking bikes. Enter Pokémon. He is obsessed with Pokémon and I told him I would buy him 5 packs of Pokémon cards (he is now claiming that I said 6 but whatever) if he could ride from our house to the end of the street and back. Sounds easy but the road has a slight hump in it so on both ends so it really is uphill both ways. :) Hopefully by the end of this week we'll be at the drug store buying him those cards.

And today he went to a birthday party that had a video game theme. There was a truck with 4 50" tvs and 4 xboxs, 4 Wiis and the kids can play video games together for 2 hours. Cars knows that I do not allow him to play Halo and so he did not play because he knew he wasn't supposed to play. I could totally see Dex playing anyway and saying "well everyone else was playing". I am pretty proud of Cars for doing that.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer O'Fun 2011 Day 20

I took Jax and Dex to see the final Harry Potter movie tonight. We tried to go see it in 3D IMAX but traffic was bumper to bumper along 520 so we got off, turned back around and went to a small cinema to watch it. We still saw it in 3D but just not IMAX.

I did not take Cars with me for a few reasons. First, I knew the movie would be a little dark and he is not quite 8 years old so I thought it be best to let him see it at home. Also, whenever we go to the movies he has to peed like 2 or 3 times and I have to take him and I really did not want to miss any of this movie. So Jax, Dex and I left as soon as Stephen got home from work. I also did not mind saving about $15 on the cost of a ticket and snacks for him (sorry, Cars).

* * * * * SPOILER ALERT BELOW * * * * * *

Anyway, I really enjoyed the movie. I have enjoyed all of them as well as the books too. I recently finished reading the 7th book for the 3rd time and I can say that this is the first time where I felt Harry's compassion for Snape. Before that I was just still pissed that he killed Dumbledore and while he was a pathetic character and I felt for him, it did not seem believable to me that Harry would name his son after Snape. However, this third time through I could see that Harry is far more compassionate that I ever could be. Also, and it showed Harry's maturity and understanding.

I feel a little sad at the end of this series. I remember reading the first three books back to back just after Dex was born and I could not wait until book 4 and of course the movies! When book 7 was released I took Jax and Dex to the midnight release party at our local Borders store. (a sad note too that Borders is going out of business this week). I have read all of the books at least twice (and some of them three times). I've seen all but this last movie 3 or 4 times. My kids have had Harry Potter birthday parties, we have tons of Harry Potter lego (in fact, Jax's first Lego set was Hogwart's Castle).

I wonder if there will be another series like this that captures so many hearts and imaginations. I hope so!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Breaking Through the Hoard

For months Stephen has been saying that he wanted to buy a mini-fridge" to put downstairs so we could keep beer and pop cold without crowding our main fridge. He finally bit the bullet and purchased one last month and I was sweating, wondering where the heck he was going to put it. We could make room in the garage but not easily. Even worse was trying to make room in the laundry room with all of the crap I have in there. Anyway, the fridge came (and it is far from being "mini" fridge. I think it is called a compact rather than a mini as it is 5.7cu ft. The first one was damaged so we just took it right back and had to wait a week for the next one and it arrived on July 1st which was too close to our party date to do anything other than make room in the kitchen and plug it in there (the fridge fit nicely in the space where the garbage can was but the garbage can fit not well in the middle of the kitchen).

Anyway, today, two weeks after we got the fridge, Stephen announced that we were moving it and we had to find a spot for it. WHAT?! I started to panic a bit because all my stuff was in the laundry room and what was I going to do with it?? Breathe! Breathe!

I told Stephen that I needed help to make room and he was very patient with me while we made room for it. We did have to move my craft table (which was really nothing more than a flat surface to put unfinished crafts, empty bags and anything else that did not have a home. I filled three garbage bags of stuff for Goodwill (many of them craft stuffs) and two garbage bags (did I really need 15 empty tie-dye bottles? Yes people, it was that bad).

We cleared out room for the fridge, moved some things into the garage and now the laundry room looks much better. My next project is to go through all of my craft containers and drawers to really get rid of the things I will not use. And it would be good to consolidate everything so, for example, my beading tools and supplies are not in 8 different containers.

Babysteps. Flylady would be proud.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer O'Fun 2011 Days 8-17

It has been a good summer so far! We have had much nicer weather that we had all of last summer (although the past couple of days have been cool, overcast and a bit wet). Our 4th of July party was a lot of fun! We are still recovering (well, in the sense that the keg still needs to be returned to the brewery and we have a little fridge in our kitchen that needs to be moved to the laundry room).

I took the kids to the beach last week and they had a grand time although Dex insisted that he could apply his own sunscreen and ended up with a bad burn on his shoulders where he completely missed applying it. Ouch!

Dex has also started back at counseling because he had a bad few weeks. His anxiety levels were ok but it seems to be depression that is kicking his ass right now. It breaks my heart to see him so sad at times. I am sure he'll have to be on medication in the coming years. :(

Yesterday our Summer O'Fun included a 7:15am appointment with the orthodontist. The good news is that Dex does not need a palate expander after all though both he and Jax will probably need braces by next summer. The bad news is that Cars needed to start his treatment now and he'll get a palate expander later this month to help fix his cross-bite. He also has a severe overbite and needs braces now (as well as later) but his lateral incisors have not yet grown in so there is nothing to attach the wire to. In fact, the incisors have not moved at all since last year and the orthodontist things there is a change that they are impacted (maybe from the trauma of them being knocked out a year ago May?). Anyway, keeping my fingers crossed that they will eventually erupt on their own.

Today I took the kids to Seattle to Archie McPhee's. They had a good time poking through everything. In the end, Jax and Dex bought some "handerpants" and Cars bought a huge box of Kraft Dinner (empty box probably used as a promotional item). Whatever.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Summer O'Fun Day 7 (2011)

I had to stay indoors today as my face heals from the photodynamic therapy so I hired Babysitter to come and take the kids for the day. She is a wonderful babysitter. She first started helping out when we moved into our old house up the hill and she was 9 years old. She LOVED Jax (he was 15 months old). She would come over and play with him as often as she could. When Dex was born the following May, I hired her in the summer for $1/hour to be a mother's helper (her parents would not let me pay her more and I had to *insist* to them that I needed her to take the money).

Anyway, she babysat for us whenever we wanted to go out (which really wasn't that often). It was a sad day three years ago when she moved away to go to college. She is planning to become a teacher and she will be an excellent one!

Today she took the kids to see a movie, then out to lunch and then to the skate park while I huddled indoors and read, baked cookies and did laundry. It is a shame that I could not go out because it really was a lovely day - sunny and low 70s.

The redness and swelling in my face is nearly gone and it definitely does not hurt anymore. I have the ok to go outdoors in the morning. I get to repeat this again next month and in August. I still keep using the ointment on my face for 5 more months though and we'll see if it brings any more pre-cancerous cells to the surface.

Wear sunscreen!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer O'Fun Day 6 (2011)

I took the kids to buy stain for the deck (whoo-hoo!) and then we stopped at Half Price books so I could buy them some reading material for the summer. Dex and Jax moped around the store then said nothing appealed to them. Cars only found one book that he wanted. It is called "Fart". OMG At first I refused to consider buying it but then I relented. "Fart" is better than nothing, right?

I have also instituted a rule that there will be no xbox, wii, nintendo dsi, computer or tv between noon and 4pm. "What will we do?!" the kids wailed. I told them "something productive". Of course those 4 hours were painfully slow today but eventually they all found something to do. Dex and Cars pulled out the Thomas the Tank Engine train set that has not been played with in about 4+ years. It was fun to see them building the track - just like old times with Dex and Jax because they loved those wooden toys! Jax went to the skate park with his friend.

Afterwards, Jax asked me what I did during those 4 hours that was "productive" (he even used finger quotes). Let's see...I dropped his friend off after the skate park, I did laundry, I watered and weeded my vegetable garden. I also went through some of our 4th of July gear. I asked him if that were productive enough and he said he guessed so. Geez!

What I also did during that productive time (although I did not tell him this) was do a bit of research on Photodynamic Therapy which I had done on my face late this afternoon. It is a treatment for the pre-cancerous stuff on my face. I will tell you that nowhere did I read that it hurt as much as it does. Well, perhaps hurt is the wrong word. It stings! Like a bad sunburn which I guess makes sense because it was a serious of light pulses on my face. And I have to stay indoors and out of any direct light for 36 hours (I guess just 32 to go!). I have hired a babysitter for tomorrow so the kids will hopefully have an actual fun summer day.

And of course when I told Stephen that my face hurt he said "It's killing me!" yuk-yuk-yuk

Off to take some ibuprofen.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Summer O'Fun Day 5 (2011)

We went to the $300 Store today to buy supplies for the Fourth of July party. I know it was not the most thrilling day for the kids but they did get a slushee as a reward for helping out in the store. Then I made a meal for a friend who just had a baby (who is so little and sweet that I just want to eat her up!). Jax was going to go to the Farmer's Market to meet his friend at the skate park but the kid's mom changed her mind about going. Not a whole lot of fun for the kids today, I'm afraid.

Yesterday we went bowling though and we had fun. The kids were driving me a little bit nuts though (being super silly). We were the only ones at the bowling alley so their antics and noise seemed that much more amplified which made me less able to ignore it.

Afterwards I went to the eye doctor to check up on the corneal ulcer I had (have?). It is nearly cleared up but now I am on a different round of eye drops. I go back again next week to make sure it is all good.

Summer O'Fun Day 3 was tie-dyeing and for the first time ever our shirts did not turn out. Well, they turned out but we used dyes from two different kits and the dye from one kit ran all over and all of the shirts look muddy and ugly. So I bought a new kit today and we will redo shirts soon (need to run to Target to get more shirts).

I barely remember Summer O'Fun Day 1 & 2 but I am sure we did not do anything memorable. Gotta get on it to make sure we have more activities planned. Actually, just gotta get through to after our party on the 4th then then real Summer fun can begin.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Book List 2011

We are half way through the year and I have read a lot more so far this year than I have in previous years. I still need to step away from the computer a bit more.

Anyway, here is my list to date:

1. The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein *also read previously
2. The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
3. Rough Country, John Sandford
4. Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss *also read previously
5. Wise Man’s Fear, Patrick Rothfuss
6. Little Bee: A Novel, Chris Cleave
7. The People Code, Taylor Hartman
8. Middlesex, Jeffery Eugenides
9. Miss Bossypants, Tina Fey
10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
11. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, Alan Bradley
12. Replay, Ken Grimwood
13. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson
14. The Girl who Played with Fire, Stieg Larsson

Since I have hit 14 so far, I will set a goal of 30 books this year. Geez, I remember when I used to read a book a day (in lieu of homework, tv and way before computers and children).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Hurray for Me!

Today I walked (and ran a very tiny bit) the Seattle Rock'N'Roll Half-Marathon. I have blisters on the soles of my feet and my hips are very sore but I managed to make it through the 13.1 miles. I am very proud of this accomplishment, especially since lately I have not been feeling very fit and haven't been particularly active. I even feel like signing up for another race, although I think I will do a 5K rather than another 1/2 Marathon.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Miss Melanoma

After I went to the dermatologist and found out that I had a pre-cancerous spot on my face, I wrote a little thank you to the hospital for holding the free skin cancer screening, telling them that the dermatologist I saw there recommended that I followed up on two things and the two things were not "nothing" as I was hoping to hear. Anyway, a couple of weeks later, someone in the PR department of the hospital called me to chat and told me that she would like to shop a story around to the local press about the event and asked me if I would be willing to talk to the press. I explained that I didn't have cancer so maybe it would be better if they found someone who had it diagnosed after the screening. She said it would be fine and said she'd be in touch. Another week or so later she called and said that one of our local papers was interested in the story and she set up a time for a reporter to contact me.

The reporter called and the first thing she said was that she heard I found out that I had melanoma after going to the screening. I explained that I did not in fact have melanoma or any kind of cancer but a pre-cancerous spot on my face and a suspicious mole. We spoke for a few minutes but I could tell that she really did not understand it all but I knew she would be talking to a dermatologist so no biggie.

A few days later they asked for a photo of me so I submitted my current facebook profile photo which was taken with my iPad so it is a low-res photo and my wrinkles disappear. :)

On Saturday morning as I was waiting at the plaza for my MIL to have her hair done, I saw a pile of newspapers so I picked one up (this is a free publication). There on the FRONT PAGE was a photo of me with the headline "Summer Sun: It's a killer" and under it (smaller headline "LocalCityName woman discovers she has melanoma after screening". WHAT!?!? No, I didn't and no I don't! I was horrified. I read the article and it was almost nonsensical. It did say that what I had removed was "non-cancerous" which is in direct conflict with the headline. I was so embarrassed and wanted to snatch up all of the papers that I could find to throw into the recycling bin. I am even blushing a little bit right now as I type this out.

Stephen thought it was funny and has taken to call me Miss Melanoma. :\

Fortunately, as it is a free paper, not a lot of people read it and I have had only one friend contact me about it. My hope is that no one else that I know has read it or will read it. Just three more days until the next edition comes out and this current one disappears forever.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blathering on...

School is *almost* out for summer. The kids' school year was extended due to some snow days. So instead of getting out on June 16th, they get out in two days - June 22nd. But the last two days are 1/2 days. I am not sure why they didn't just lump them into one day and get out on the 21st.

Now if only summer weather would arrive we'd be golden.

We haven't one single summer thing scheduled this year. My traditional first day of summer tie-dye making day will not take place the first day after school gets out because I have a few things to do that day. I will try to get out to get the boys white t-shirts by Friday and hopefully we will get it done then. I usually have a party and invite several friends but I really don't feel up to it this year. We'll see how I feel later in the week.

Oh, wait, we do have one thing scheduled for the summer. Our annual 4th of July party. This year I am holding a hat contest and there will be prizes for most Patriotic Hat and most Original Hat. I hope that the guests participate. Stephen thinks it is lame and that no one will want to do it. I hope he is wrong.

Hopefully we can get a short camping trip scheduled in as well as some other fun summer activities. I need the boys to work on their summer activity wish lists. Oh and I'd better hurry and check the low tide schedule. Sometimes the lowest tides are early in the summer. Going to the tidal pools is one of my favourite summer activities.

Monday, June 06, 2011

After nearly three years, I quit my guitar lessons today. I enjoyed it but lost interest in the past few months. And I rarely practiced. My instructor would tell me "That's ok! Practice here." Fine for him getting paid to listen to me practice but expen$ive practice.

Anyway, I can play quite a few songs, and two really well - "Maggie Mae" and "It's All Been Done" by the BNL. It is one of my very favourite songs and very Beatlesque. I can also pluck away at "Let it Be", "Brown Eyed Girl", "Fire and Rain", "It's All Your Fault", "Dead or Alive" and some parts of "Stairway to Heaven". It was great getting a refresher in reading notes and now I do bar chords on an acoustic guitar (initially, I had to switch to the electric when I was learning "Let it Be").

I just sat down at with my guitar and played a few songs and I am proud of how well I have done considering the lack of practice. I imagine how great I'd be if I'd had actually picked up my guitar every day for 15 minutes each day!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Normal Crazy

I hope that no one was offended that I entitled my last entry as Crazy. I know some people are offended when depressed or overly anxious people are called crazy. But that is what I consider myself. All of the thoughts (worst-case scenario stuff and the mind that just won't shut off) make me feel like I am crazy. And that means just not "normal". And some people don't like "normal" and feel that "typical" is a better word. However, when dealing with myself, I will use crazy and normal. If you don't like it, please move along.

I have felt much better since I posted the other day. I think it was just such a relief to say it all and get it out. Confession is good for the soul, right? I think just finally admitting that I am having issues again has been a big help for me to think more about what I need to do to deal with it. I am feeling some pressure though because school is ending in a few weeks and there is so much to be done in the meantime (wrapping up volunteer work, class parties, baseball, Cars' First Communion, my in-laws visiting) that it is overwhelming to think of the time I need to exercise, clean, and perhaps go see a counselor.

See how I put that one last? Shows the priority I am giving it. Gotta re-think that.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Crazy (again) after all these years

I posted an entry last week then promptly deleted it. It was about me and anxiety and depression. Not sure why I deleted it. I think it was because I just hated saying it out loud.

What I said out loud was that over the past few months I could feel myself slipping into a sort of depression. My anxiety ramped up and I have been spending hours at night imagining the worst things possible. That the rabbits in our garden will have destroyed our property so much that it will cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix. That the rabbits are rabid (do rabbits get rabies?). That spider season is almost here and I will never be able to spend anytime down in the family room because at any moment a gigantic spider will come racing at me. That the record rainfalls will destabilize our yard and the deck and front porch will collapse while the crawlspace fills up with water. That Jax will be a hunchback. That Dex will become addicted to drugs at an early age due to self-medicating while trying to deal with his own anxiety and depression. That Cars will develop skin cancer (he is my mole-y-est kid). That Stephen will drop dead of a heart attack and I will not remember to pay the bills. That I have a heart condition and will die of a heart attack after a couple of years of shuffling around attacked to an oxygen tank. That the earth will destroy itself with floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, cyclones (are they the same thing or are they like hurricanes?), hurricanes (but I never worried about the rapture cuz the guy who predicted it was just plain nuts).

All of these very irrational things. And I know they are irrational. And during the day they are so stupid and I wonder WTF I was doing even thinking these things. But it happens at night when I am trying to lay still and go to bed. I do not discuss them with Stephen because he just rolls his eyes at me and asks me why I cannot just be happy. I don't know why. I am always waiting for the shoe to drop. Always.

So, while I sit in bed and worry and fret I can feel my heart start to constrict and I am so *sure* that I have heart disease or clogged arteries or whatever.

I recognize that these are not the thoughts of a rational person.

I made an appointment to see my doctor for a physical. Well, I saw her nurse practitioner (I don't think I have even seen my doctor since Cars was an infant). Anyway, I went in and I just started spewing all of this stuff and I told her that I thought I was depressed or needed to get a hold of my anxiety and that I was sure I was having heart problems but I know I just feel it when I am stressed and blah blah blah blah!

Once she calmed me down, she asked me if I wanted to be medicated and I said no. Why? I had no idea why. I just didn't like the IDEA of it which is so stupid because if I had high cholesterol, I would take medication. If I had diabetes, I would take the medication. But because my brain chemistry is probably out of whack I will not do anything about it. Well, not entirely true. I just won't take medication for it. I will go to counseling and I did take a referral for that (but now school is almost out so when would I go and how long will it take and the office is not close and and and and...).

I kept wondering why I would not take medication. When I was diagnosed with PPD when Cars was 3 months old, my OB/GYN prescribed Zoloft. I promptly filled the prescription but never took one. I did start counseling and long time Blahg readers will remember that I went to Crazy Doctor for 2 years. I often wonder if I had taken Zoloft, would I have been happier, saner, more stable much sooner? Probably. Yet here I am, in almost the same place six years later and I will not take an anti-depressant.

I did call Killjoy (yes, that name is back) and told her what I had told the doctor. That I thought I was depressed. This was a big step for me to even tell my mom. To admit it out loud. (I mentioned something to Stephen last month but then we just shrugged it off). Anyway, Killjoy told me not to take any of that "crap" (medication) and that I would be better if I just went out and got a job. Niiiice. Thanks for the support.

Anyway, I did agree to take a prescription for anti-anxiety medication that I can take "as needed". My heart and arteries all sound find so she is sure that the chest pains I feel as I lay in bed stressing about the recession, war in Afghanistan, tornadoes in Missouri, flooding in Louisiana, nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan and starving in Africa and general health and well-being of my family is just from anxiety. My blood work should come back next week and if my thyroid levels are out of whack or my vitamin d are low, these could also be part of the reasons why I am feeling so blue. I am also having my cholesterol checked to make sure it is still fine (at night, I imagine that it is clogged with thick layers of plaque which is causing the pains in my chest).

In the meantime, I must force myself to get up and move about and go outside, go to the store, go to the gym, go go go... I have go to get better. I must.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


For at least the second year in a row, we have had a very cool, wet, wet spring and it has been horribly depressing. Virtually no sunshine, no warm weather and just no fun. However, since Saturday, we have had 3 days of sun and tomorrow it will return along with a predicted high of 70 degrees F! I am delighted!!

I spent Saturday weeding and also cutting limbs off some of our trees. Yesterday, my neighbour gave me a small lilac bush that is an off shoot of hers and I planted it on the sunny side of our house. Lilacs are a little finicky here because we don't usually get cold enough temperatures that they need in the winter. Well, we didn't use to. We have had "cold" winters the past few years so I am hoping that this lilac bush will thrive and give off lots of sweet smelling blossoms next spring.

I also transplanted a Japanese maple bush that I purchased on clearance last fall and had hastily planted in the ground in November, pot and all! My neighbour (she is a master gardener) doesn't think the spot I chose for the maple will do well (too sunny and dry in the summer). I am hedging (ha!) on a summer like last year so a cool and wet summer will allow this maple to take root and do well.

Today, I planted a couple of zucchini plants. Hopefully they will do something and the darn bunnies will not get to them. We live in a very pest-riddled area with bunnies, deer, voles, moles, woodpeckers and other ilk! I hope to get some other veggies in the garden on the weekend (broccoli, tomatoes, and something else).

Anyway, I'll enjoy the sunshine while wearing SPF30 or 50 or 60 (depending on how long I will be out there). Don't forget to wear yours!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A few months ago, a small white spot appeared on my cheek. Great, another zit, I thought. However, it never got hard and sore and just stayed there looking white and flat and pretty noticeable (at least to me). I decided that I would have my doctor look at it at my next physical (scheduled for later this month). Then I saw that the local hosptial was having a free Skin Cancer Screening so I thought I would go because I have never been to a dermatologist (I just suffered with acne alone as a teen, fighting it with my Oxy-5). Oh, and I also have rosacea and my PCP prescribed some topical antibiotic ointment for it last year.

Anyway, I walked out of the Skin Cancer screening with a recommendation to see a dermatologist about the spot on my face and a couple of moles that were darker than the rest. Spy recommended her dermatologist to me and I got an appointment in no time. I went in and the dermatologist seemed to think the spot on my face was file - a "skin barnacle" she called it (Seborrheic Keratosis). One of the moles that the Skin Cancer screening dermatologist was concerned about was cut off as was the "skin barnacle". I have had to walk around for a week with a little round bandaid on my face that makes it look like I popped a huge pimple or something.

The dermatologist's office called back today and the mole on my arm was normal but slightly "atypical" (huh?!). So that means that I need to keep an eye on all of my moles from now on. The spot on my face was not Seborrheic Keratosis but Actinic Keratosis which is a slow growing and pre-cancerous. So, good thing I had it looked at. I have to go back for some sort of treatment next month after the rosacea in my face is "under control" (dermatologist's words).

Maybe it is a good thing that we live in the least sunniest place on the face of the earth. Ok, maybe not least sunniest but probably close! We all suffer from Vitamin D deficiency but still end up with pre-cancerous skin cells. How fair is that*?

(*ok, of course this condition took decades to build up and was a result of the many sunburns I received as a child and teen and young adult and long before I moved to the City of No Sun).

And people, please watch and share this PSA:

(of course this is about melanoma, which is not what I kind mine could have turned into, but still a good message)

Sunday, May 08, 2011

I had a wonderful Mother's Day! My kids rock. My husband made the most delicious meal (teriyaki salmon grilled on a cedar plank and pan-fried scallops!). We played games, completed a puzzle. I listened to the kids play the guitar/bass and they played outside between rain showers. I spoke to my mom and MIL and admired the lovely bouquet of roses that were delivered on Friday.

I am so lucky to be a mom.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Fifteen Two

When my mom was here, she taught Dex how to play Cribbage. I was so excited because I love playing cards but Stephen doesn't like it much and the kids always played dumb whenever I tried to teach them ("I can't count to 15!"). Anyway, Dex was very willing to learn and he learned quickly. He won about 1/2 of the games that he played against my mom although I know that at least one she played the "wrong" card so she would not peg out before he counted his hand. Dex asked her many times to play and they had fun.

Since she left, I have asked him a half-dozen times to play and he always gives me a polite "no thanks". What?! I want to play Cribbage with a real person (not the computer or some Joe from Iowa who hates Obama - thank you for introducing us pogo.com).

I will keep at him. Mother's Day is coming up so I may start suggesting that a perfect gift would be a game or two of Cribbage.

Now I just need to get Jax interested in Scrabble or Cars in Gin Rummy and I will be a happy camper.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

"Highlights" from April

It has so long since I updated so here are a few "highlights" from the month:

  1. I am now the mother of a teenager! Jax turned 13. The days are long but the years are short.

  2. My mom came for a visit and I did not feel like slitting my wrists. And she was here a week! I didn't even think to call her Killjoy once.

  3. I have gained 8 pounds but it looks like 20. My pants do not fit and I look like the Michelin man. Must.do.something.now! (almost wrote soon <-- that's my problem - soon never comes!

  4. I said NO (or just did not respond) to 8 additional volunteer requests in April. Of course the one extra one that I said YES to was the one that I completely forgot about (bringing in shredded cheese for the monthly teacher appreciation lunch - oops!

  5. Went to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival for the first time ever (I've only lived here 12 years). It was gorgeous!

  6. Have finally bested the woodpecker!(covered the hole with hardware cloth and installed a deterrent.

  7. Stayed up all night to watch the Royal Wedding and I am still tired

And that was my month. Hopefully this month will be more interesting and there will be more posts from me.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Migraine's Stink

Ugh - I have a wicked migraine today. It is almost gone thanks to Relpax. I am reluctant to take prescription drugs for these so I suffered most of the day with only Anacin before I caved. I don't know why I just didn't take Relpax hours ago as I'd be done with the migraine by now.

I have had migraines as long as I remember. I often complained about headaches as a child and my mother, whom I do love and like but who had very little patience for complainers, used to call me "George" after her father, the hypochondriac. Anyway, when I was about 15 I decided that I had to do something about the headaches so I went to the doctor (changed doctors on my own since I didn't like our family doctor). Now, I don't believe my migraines are hormone-related because I do not get them around my period. Some of my triggers are dehydration, stress, smelly perfumes, not eating frequently enough (rarely get them from this ;), Chinese food (probably from MSG), lack of sleep, and changes in the weather as well as sometimes the reason I get them are a mystery. I think today's migraine was brought to me by the weather change although today was a high pressure day not a low pressure day so who knows if that were it or not.

When I was in my late teens I went to a neurologist. I had an EEG where they stuck what looked like little push-pins attached to wires into my head. This was the pre-HIV/AIDS era because I am certain they use sticky electrodes rather than push-pin kind. I know those push-pin kind were reused too and I remember my cousin (who accompanied my to the visit as my parents were at work) was so grossed out when I came out with dozens of little bloody dots on my head. Anyway, the EEG showed normal brain movement and no signs of a tumour (whew!).

My migraines often were accompanied by visual disturbances. I recall the first time I experienced a visual disturbance before a migraine. I was a student and was working part-time in a movie theatre ticket box and I lost my peripheral vision. I only had vision right in the very centre for about 15 minutes and I was so scared that I was having a stroke. I had to hold the money people gave me out to the side to see if it were a $5, $10 or $20! As my vision came back, a crushing migraine came with it. I almost vomit ted in the ticket office! I had to run out and I threw up in the bathroom. I know exactly what my trigger was that time. My co-worker's perfume! It was called Ciara and she would douse herself in it. On top of that, she had this horrible rotten cheese body odour and to this day, if I smell Ciara I will retch.

It was a few years later I was working in a bank and I lose my centre vision and could only see out of the periphery. It was very interesting for that 20 minutes trying to check people's signatures and filling in bank forms when I had to hold the form off to the side and try to write while looking straight ahead. Again, when my vision returned, the mind-blowing pain came with it.

In the years since, I have had only a few more visual disturbances that signaled a migraine onset. Once it was like wavy lines, and another, it was like I was looking through a kaleidoscope. I have had the lost peripheral vision again too but now I know when visual disturbances happen 1) I am not having a stroke and 2) these migraines will be the worst!

I have also used different migraine medications over the years. One doctor had me on a daily medication to hopefully stop them from coming but I often forgot to take the medication. So often I would just suffer through them with a cold wash cloth on my head while lying absolutely still in a darkened room.

Then in 1992, a miracle! Imitrex was approved for use in Canada. It was the best drug ever for my migraines. I could take one tablet and within 10 minutes the pain would start to dissipate and within an hour (max!) the pain would be gone as well as the crushing pressure of the migraine. I would often get a migraine "hangover" with some slurred or thick speech and feel a little dopey. But I could actually stay at work with a migraine and the quality of my life improved.

Then in late '93, Stephen and I were married and I moved to the States. I had no medical insurance and even worse - no Imitrex! I found out that they were still doing clinical trials for Imitrex and that the tablet had not been approved for sale here yet. They did have the auto-injector though and I signed up with the manufacturer and was able to get Imitrex auto-injectors FREE. The problem was, have you ever tried to inject yourself while suffering from a migraine. I wasn't sure which was worse. The pain of the migraine or the anticipation of the pain from the injector (while it was no overly painful, the injector was definitely not pain-free!).

Anyway, finally the pill form was introduced here in the States (right about the time that I got health insurance) so I took Imitrex by tablet again although my insurance company would only prescribe 6 at a time.

I stopped taking Imitrex around the time that we decided to start a family and I will tell you that while I was pregnant, I was virtually migraine-free! This made me think for a while that the migraines could have been partially hormone-related but I think it was mostly because I was eating regularly and drinking tons of water, all the while reducing the stress in my life because I had gone into pre-term labour at 28 weeks which fortunately was stopped and I was put on bed rest.

Also, since moving to the Pacific Northwest in '99, I have had far fewer migraines. I think this is mostly to do with the weather. The oppressive, muggy, humid and suffocating summer weather in Minneapolis and Toronto were big migraine triggers for me. And in '04 when we went to Florida for a vacation, I had a migraine most of the 10 days that we were there. Ugh, who could live there?! I had to suffer without Imitrex that whole trip because I was nursing Cars and although I was told it was "safe", I refused to take it while pregnant and nursing any of my children.

A few years ago, my doctor's PA suggested that I try Relpax rather than Imitrex. It is in the same "triptan" class as Imitrex and it seems to work well for me (although not nearly as quickly). It does not give me the same feelings of heaviness and thickness in my chest and throat when I take it which I do like though so I give up one for the other.

Anyway, it has been two and a half hours since I have taken Relpax and the pain in my head is gone but I still have pressure. And I have a migraine "hangover". Stephen just texted me that his plane has landed (he went to Toronto to see his parents - his mom is going through cancer treatments) so I had better run and at least load the dishwasher from today's breakfast dishes. I might even be able to throw some dinner together for the kids (no promises at this point).

In the meantime, I am watching Dex and seeing that he is a migraine sufferer and I hurt for him because I know what it will mean for him for the rest of his life. (they do tend to run in the family - two aunts, my dad and my oldest brother all had/have them). Hopefully Dex won't have them as often or as badly as I do.

My brother posted this article to me on Facebook today:

Headaches might ease as you age

I guess I have that to look forward to.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Snow in April. Yes that is what we have. Snow in Seattle in April. Aargh! Ok, the snow did not cause any problems with traffic and fortunately school was not canceled (the school year has already been extended 4 days due to snow days). But today is COLD. And it is April and it should not be this cold. The forecast for today was originally 55F and sunny by the afternoon I do not see that happening. They are still claiming it might hit 50F today but it is already 11am, still cloudy and only 40F. Promises, promises.

Today, Jax starts his track after school. They practice everyday after school except for Wednesdays. Track actually started on Monday but he had conveniently forgotten to sign up for it. I had him get the forms from school on Monday then on Tuesday I had to take him to the doctor to have her sign the release form and since he had not been to see her since October 2009, he had to have a physical. All went well until she examined his spine. She kept telling him to bend over properly then she realized that he was and she left to get some device to measure his spine. Afterwards, she told us that kids often go through growth spurts and their spines look uneven (he is now officially taller than me, standing a whopping 5'6.75"!). His spine looks crooked she is not concerned enough to send him to a specialist yet but we do have to go back to see her in 6 months.

Of course, with my worst-case-scenario personality, I already have him in a Milwaukee brace and being made fun of in school. I remember in Grade 7 when JaniceM got a Milwaukee brace. Her pencil rolled off her desk and she got down on her knees to try to pick it up but she got stuck! She could not reach it and she could not get back up. A boy name Bruce started laughing and he could not stop. Then Janice started to cry. The rest of us in the class looked on in shock, going back and forth between Bruce and Janice. It seemed to go on forever but I am sure it was just a few seconds before the teacher intervened.

And of course there was the scene from "Sixteen Candles" where Joan Cusack's character, who is wearing the brace, tries to lean over to take a drink from the water fountain and she cannot. Also, in my high school, there were two more kids wearing that brace. One was a boy who was so very tall (and he also had braces on his teeth and very bad acne - gah!).

So, these are the kind of things I have already imagined for Jax and really at this point all we have is a "come back in six months". I want to know NOW if it is going to be a problem so I can get these images and thoughts out of my head. Jax has started getting blackheads and pimples and he is in the 95th percentile for height. OMG - exactly like that boy from my high school!

Breathe - breathe - breathe

Ok, I am calm for the moment. So, for the meantime, Jax will do track (in the snowy April weather) and work on his posture (he thinks she wants to see him again because he slouches). I'll keep the worrying to myself and research alternatives to the Milwaukee brace. And maybe get him some ProActiv.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Happy Birthday to me! Well, it was a few days ago. It was spring break so I decided that it was the perfect opportunity for the kids and I to go to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). I had never been there before and kids 12 and under were free (and Jax turns 13 next month so let's go!).

We drove through the pouring rain (we had the worse spring break weather all week!) but it had stopped by the time we got downtown. I found the SAM then circled around blocks and blocks and blocks looking for parking. Street parking downtown is very limited and what is available has a 2 hour limit so I knew we needed to find a lot. I went to my old stand-by lot which is actually very close to the aquarium and a few blocks away but there was just one skinny little space available (the cars on either side were parked on the lines) and I knew that my SUV would not fit in there.

I went back and drove around looking for a parking ramp that could accommodate the height of my vehicle. Um, there are NONE. I did see that the height at the Westlake Center was listed as 11' some inches but once I drove down the ramp, that height is for delivery trucks only and the lower levels for passenger vehicles was only 6'4" (my car is slightly over 6'5"). Nooooo! The guy had to get out of the little booth and stop the cars coming down behind me to give me room to make a very awkward 85 point turn to get around and drive back up the ramp and out onto the street. I was sweating (and swearing) at this point. Aaargh! I should have switched cars with Stephen that day.

The kids and I drove even further away and I finally found a small lot that had some available spaces. Hurray! Well, once I checked the prices I found out why there were some available. I paid $24.95 (the cost of 4+ hours up to 24 hours)! The guy told me that he'd be needing the receipt back when I left. Um, I don't think so. It was my credit card receipt and while the cc number was not printed on there, I know that he was going to re-use my ticket and give it to someone who was going to pay cash (and he'd pocket the money).

So the kids and I now had about 12 blocks to walk back to the SAM. Usually not a problem but all three chose not to dress for the weather. It was not raining but it was windy. The chose to keep their rain coats in the car and were only wearing hoodies which the wind whipped straight through. They didn't complain (since it was my birthday) but they shivered all the way there.

It really did not take as long as I figured it might to get through the exhibits. I really enjoyed looking at all of the works of art. The kids were mostly bored but they pretended not to be and did behave. The only grief I got was from Cars demanding to know why it was part noon and he had not had lunch. ~eye roll~ That kid definitely is ruled by his very picky stomach.

After we went through the museum (it is not nearly as big as I had anticipated), we headed to the restaurant which is a little fancier than I expected. Dex had a $10 gourmet hot dog (minus all of the fixings that made it gourmet, of course). Cars was the only one to order off the kids' menu(again, 12 and under so we were under a timeline for Jax but he wanted an adult-size meal). ;)

We headed back outside and hiked our way back to the car, stopping at Nordstrom so I could buy some eye make-up (happy birthday to me). I went out the back entrance of the lot so the guy could not flag me down to get the receipt (heh).

Stephen came home early from work and he grilled burgers for us and we had a vanilla cake with chocolate icing that I had made the night before. It was a very lovely evening and end to a great day spent with my kids.

School starts back from break tomorrow. I feel a little ripped off since the weather was absolutely horrible all week but it is Seattle and it is spring time. I heard a rumour that there really is a sun behind those clouds. I hope we see it soon.